What Are the Staffing Requirements in Arizona Nursing Homes?

What Are the Staffing Requirements in Arizona Nursing Homes?It is no secret that nursing homes across the entire country are experiencing severe staffing issues. While this may seem like a minor inconvenience to some, it is actually a very serious problem that could affect a lot of people in one way or another.

For example, if your elderly father, mother, grandparent, aunt, or uncle is ever placed into an Arizona nursing home that is short staffed, this could open the doors for dangerous situations to occur, such as abuse, neglect, and even death.

Nursing home staffing requirements in Arizona

In the state of Arizona, a nursing home is considered to be a facility that provides nursing services. Therefore, Ariz. Admin. Code § 9-10-412 explains that in order to meet the nursing home staffing requirements in Arizona, nursing homes must ensure the following:

  • Residents are provided with nursing services 24 hours per day.
  • The director of nursing is a registered nurse, employed full time at the nursing home, and in charge of the nursing services.
  • The director of nursing or another employee specifically hired by the nursing home for the position participates and conducts the quality management program.
  • If the daily number of residents at the nursing home reaches 60 or more, the director of nursing should not provide hands-on, direct care to the residents routinely.
  • The director of nursing will determine the number of employees and staff members needed to provide proper nursing services to the residents. This is based on each individual’s unique needs and assessments.
  • Once the number of staff members and employees is determined, that number should be at the nursing home facility each day and night to ensure that residents are taken care of.
  • One nurse is always available and on site at the nursing home. This nurse cannot care for more than 64 residents at a time.

Does the federal government have specific staffing requirements for nursing homes?

When a nursing home receives some sort of government funding, such as Medicaid or Medicare, they are required to follow the rules and regulations put in place by the federal government, including the federal staffing requirements. Therefore, since most nursing homes receive this assistance, they are subject to the following rules and requirements:

  • One director of nursing must be employed full-time.
  • A registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) must be on duty 24 hours a day.
  • At least one RN must be on duty for eight continuous hours a day.

The government recommends that all nursing homes have at least one RN to every five residents. However, knowing that this may not be a possibility, nursing homes are still complying as long as a nurse is available and on duty. There is no mention of any federal rules for the number of certified nursing assistants (CNAs). It is only mentioned that CNAs and other staff members should be able to properly take care of and provide the necessary services to the residents.

What happens when nursing homes are understaffed?

When nursing homes are understaffed, the residents, family members, and even the community may experience negative effects. For example, if a facility is very understaffed and cannot hire people or keep workers, they may have to make the decision to close down permanently. When this happens, the residents may not receive the care that they need, the family members may become stressed at the idea of needing to find a new nursing home, and the community may no longer have a nursing home in the area or close by for their elderly loved ones who may need somewhere to go in the future.

Another negative effect of understaffed nursing homes is the fact that residents tend to suffer tremendously. The nursing homes may think that they are saving money, but they are actually putting their residents in imminent danger. For example, residents may be more prone to being dropped, falling, developing illnesses, getting infections, becoming severely injured, and even dying from lack of care.

Examples of neglect that may occur when a nursing home is understaffed

Neglect is one of the main issues that emerges from understaffed nursing homes. According to an article published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, neglect is defined as “failure to provide goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness.” Therefore, it is the nursing home’s responsibility to care for and meet the needs of the residents at all times to avoid causing physical injuries and mental health problems. If they fail to do so, the resident is being neglected, causing long-term consequences or death.

Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence for nursing homes that are understaffed, as employees are overworked, exhausted, and burned out. The following are some examples of the type of neglect that may happen when a nursing home is understaffed and the workers are being overloaded with tasks:

  • Failing to move residents frequently, resulting in pressure ulcers and infections
  • Failing to answer resident calls and requests, resulting in residents doing tasks alone and falling
  • Failing to feed residents, resulting in residents going hungry and becoming dehydrated
  • Failing to bathe, change, or dress residents, leading to poor hygiene, infections, and illnesses
  • Failing to provide medicine to residents, causing recurring illnesses, infections, or overdoses
  • Failing to notice the signs and symptoms of a serious illness, injury, or infection, leading to hospitalizations, surgeries, or even death

If your elderly loved one has experienced abuse or neglect due to understaffing in a nursing home, please do not hesitate to reach out to a Phoenix nursing home abuse lawyer from Garcia & Artigliere at your earliest convenience. Our team has been helping clients get the justice they need and deserve for over 30 years, and we are more than happy to help you obtain the same results. If you are ready to sit down and talk about your case, submit our contact form or call our office to schedule your free, no-obligation case review today. We have offices located in Phoenix, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Louisville, and New Orleans, and we look forward to meeting you soon.